Twenty Seven Days

Money. Everyone wants it. Everyone has it – some more than others. No one wants to talk about it. At least not in a real way. I was married twice and not once did I have a real conversation about money, finances, saving, etc. with either of my husbands. If you can’t talk about money with the person you sleep with there’s a problem. A real problem.

My money story is probably not something that is unique. I had no idea what my family’s financial situation was when I was growing up. As a child, I don’t think I was supposed to know. We ate every day. We got new school clothes in the fall and I always got a new Easter outfit. If we were broke, it didn’t feel that way.

However, I was never taught how to manage money. I was never taught how to develop a budget and stick to that budget. At least not until I was an adult and was trying to get out of debt.

It is so easy to accumulate debt and incredibly hard to get out of it. I have bounced between deep in debt and totally debt-free a few times. So, I know how to get in and get out. But if I know how to get out, why would I allow myself to get back in? It is complicated.

I do not enjoy budgeting. I know how to track where my money goes, but I learned that is different than budgeting. A budget is when you tell your money where to go. I would normally let my money go wherever it needed to and just keep track of it. See the difference?

When I was first out on my own, I would tell my friends that I did not enjoy shopping. The truth was, I was always broke and couldn’t afford to shop. As a child, we never took random shopping trips to the mall or to a department store. There was always a specific reason for shopping. I did not know how to shop “just because”. As I got older and started having “disposable income” I slowly discovered the joy of just buying a pair of shoes because I was bored on a Tuesday. This did not start happening until I was debt-free and could pay for things in cash.

I discovered that I really do enjoy shopping and there was a time when I had more shoes and more books than I needed and then one day I woke up and realized that less was better.

In 2015, I quit my 6-figure job to work for myself as a personal trainer and health coach. This decision was impulsive and not well thought out, but I knew that if I didn’t leap I would have regretted it. I don’t regret that decision at all, however, that decision caused me to make some poor financial decisions and today – five years later – I am still paying for those decisions. Paying to the tune of about $35,000, which represents two credit cards and one home equity line of credit.

Up until now I have been content just making my payments (slightly more than the minimum) and living my life. My payments are made on time but with the interest it is taking forever. In the meantime, I am also building my savings and my second car will be paid off in less than two months. But I know that that is no longer good enough.

As I journey to 56, I know that I can no longer be content with the status quo. Carrying around this debt is like a weight around my neck. Carrying around this debt and still shopping and traveling whenever I want is not cool. The only positive aspect is that I am not adding to the current debt, but I still need a plan to eliminate it.

To that end, I have found a debt reduction calculator HERE and if I commit to sticking with it I will eliminate the debt in three years. So that is what I’m going to do. I am using the debt snowball calculator which means that I tackle the debt with the lowest balance first and once that is paid off I transfer that payment to the bill with the next highest balance until that is paid off, etc.

My journey to 56 means freedom. Freedom from hiding in the shadows, financial freedom, freedom in love. Just freedom. And this is only the beginning.

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